Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! – Final Thoughts

中二病でも恋がしたい!/ Chu-2 byo Demo Koi ga Shitai!

When it comes to watching new anime titles, there are three ways I get my interest piqued. Firstly, I’ll see some promotional image or material that just makes me go, “Man, I really have to check into that.”  Secondly, people will give me recommendations.  And finally, I’ll stumble onto something of interest which then leads me to either item one or item two above (or both). That was the case this time out.

Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! starts out as a cute, fun anime series that explores people who get (or who have been) very engrossed in their own make believe fantasy world.  By the end of the series, it takes a more dramatic turn, exploring reasons why folks might seek such an avenue of escape while at the same time, offering some of the sweetest, vanilla romance you can imagine. Let’s start with the chuunibyou aspects first.+

While there is a ton of fun, humor, and imaginary action at the start, I found that the early episodes did two things for me. On one hand, it made me wish that Rikka, the lead female character who’s very deep into the chuunibyou thing, was actually telling the truth and that she did have powers. I think that stemmed from a deep down, hidden desire on my own part to have supernatural powers and be a badarse of sorts (which I got to be in the game Skyrim, where I got to become the ultimate wizard character I’d always longed to be in an RPG).

On the other hand, it made me consider my own life and what might be considered acting chuunibyou to one degree or other. I recall after Star Wars came out in the theater (Ooops! I’m dating myself ^_~ ), we boys ran around the playground like mad holding sticks that were blaster-shaped and playing Rebels vs. the Empire. We’d draw straws on who got to be Luke Skywalker with the Death Star plans, after which those playing the Stormtroopers would give chase and those in the Rebellion would try to run interference to allow Luke to run free. *lol* Man, I hadn’t thought about that in years and years, but this anime series brought up many such memories for me.

I thought of when I was twelve and starting my own lawn mowing business so I would have money to buy “cool” things since my family was poor and “cool” was not a priority when you are on a budget and your parents refuse to go into debt.  Pushing a lawn mower all day long in the hot, humid, Southern air is not what I’d call fun, so for all the years I mowed yards, I would often escape to some fantasy place in my mind, whether in a science fiction setting or a fantasy one, and dream of adventures complete with the girl, usually the one I was interested in at the time. But, while I’d fantasize like this, I never acted out my fantasies and as far as anyone at school was concerned, I was just a normal guy.

This acting out one’s fantasies in public was the hardest aspect of the anime for me to understand. Any play acting of fantasy events stopped before elementary school was over.   By the time I was in eighth grade, there was absolutely no way I was doing anything that might make me be perceived as weird. After all, puberty was hitting and girls never looked more radiant as they did then.  Yet in this anime series, Yuuta and the babe Nibutani both acted out their fantasies in public. Further to that, you had the high school girl Rikka and her ojousama kohai Sanae shamelessly acting out their chuunibyou fantasies and not giving a damn about what anyone else thought about it.  Even though they knew it wasn’t real, it was real to them on some level.

I got the feeling that to some degree, the writers of the anime series were making a commentary on the Japanese hierarchical structure on top of the general theme of, “just be yourself.” After all, you have an ojousama character who is certainly different from the normal array of ojousama characters I’ve come to know in various series. She shows no respect to her senpai, as seen with her coming by the high school to torment Nibutani, to say nothing about not addressing her senpai as such. You have Rikka not using honorifics for anyone until she decides to give up the chuunibyou activities.  Then, you have some of the characters addressing their teacher with the “-chan” honorific rather than “-sensei”.

The romance side of the anime was rather sweet, charming, and full of vanilla goodness. It doesn’t start right away, but once Rikka and Yuuta are awakened to their feelings for each other, it moves rather quickly.  Because Rikka is so deep in her chuunibyou fantasies, she doesn’t worry about things like the appearance it gives to others if she feeds Yuuta. She’s not ashamed to have Yuuta feed her.  Though the characters don’t kiss, they have a cute, pinky touching thing that for some reason just made me feel good. Because the romance is so intertwined with Yuuta’s and Rikka’s chuunibyou experiences, I found it to be rather unique for any romance anime I’ve ever seen (or manga I’ve ever read for that matter). So I give the series a plus for that.

There are a lot of good laughs, primarily delivered via the rivalry between Sanae and Nibutani, who cannot resist when Sanae baits her, causing Nibutani to drop her “normal” facade and descend to Sanae’s level. (I liked how the writers had Nibutani comfort Sanae when Rikka was abandoning the chuunibyou fantasy life, despite the humorous battles between Nibutani and Sanae.) Other laughs are to be found from other areas as well, so the series isn’t all fantasy action and romance.

In the end, I found Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! to be a surprising anime series that seemed to have no purpose beyond telling fun, slice of life stories often involving chuunibyou fantasies. While some may not have approved, I liked how the series switched to a drama-romance mode, and I think this was effectively done, making me want to go back and enjoy the ride again.  I’d love to know how the original light novels went (which are vastly different from the anime, from what I understand).

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3 Responses to “Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! – Final Thoughts”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I think part of the swings in the mood reflect the fact that these are not adults but teenagers, who haven’t found all their ‘boundaries’ yet, and bounce from extreme to extreme, and the writers allow the characters to react like that. We, as *coughadultscough* in general take a more moderate tack, but isn’t that the whole point of the series? The staff treated the characters as teens and wrote in that manner, allowing swings of emotion, rather than filtering as adults would do. I’m rambling, sorry… Anyway, I enjoyed this a lot for what it was, the confession was adorable and the ending (for now) acceptable, so I’m waiting for the next episode this (sniff, sob, wail) summer. Good writeup. Happy New Year.

  2. […] Shitai! How I have missed you. I was reminded of how I’d not watched this OVA when I reached my review of the first series during my project to correct all of the errant images and other formatting issues resulting from my […]

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